Does your child have a 504 Plan? I read everyday on Type 1 Diabetes Facebook Support Groups how parents do not have one in place and all the heartache and troubles that are caused by uneducated school staff. Many parents who do have a 504 Plan in place offer the best advice. Their advice is to have a 504 Plan in place BEFORE you have trouble with your child’s school whether it be a teacher, staff, or student.
What is a 504 Plan?
A plan for your child’s medical treatment which must be followed by the school including nurses, teachers, staff, and bus drivers.
Who should have a 504 Plan?
Any student who has Type 1 diabetes and attends school outside the home or is enrolled in a public virtual academy at home could benefit from a 504 plan.
Has your Endocrinologist offered you a DMMP (Diabetes Medical Management Plan)?
This is a detailed plan with the care that is needed for your child including but not limited to target blood glucose levels, when or how often he or she should check blood glucose, symptoms of high and low blood glucose, how to treat hypoglycemia, insulin-to-carb ratios, and more. This paperwork is often the “secret” weapon parents can use to get the best written 504 Plan for your child.
What to Include in the 504 Plan:
Reasonable accommodations may include but are not limited to:
1. Trained staff members for recognition and treatment of hypoglycemia, insulin administration, glucagon administration, and carbohydrate counting.
2. Self administration of blood glucose monitoring IN THE CLASSROOM
3. Allowing the child to treat hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia in any location at school when necessary. This includes allowing child to eat snacks in the classroom.
4. Use of restroom at any time
5. Access to water
6. Eating and drinking whenever and wherever necessary
7. To be allowed to be absent or tardy without penalty
8. Extended time for testing (this also goes for College Board SAT testing)
9. Plans regarding access to supplies in the event of an emergency or school lock down
10. Full participation in all sports and extracurricular activities and field trips with appropriate supervision provided by the school.
Don’t assume a school nurse will be on the premises at all times. Many school districts have made major cutbacks that stretch a single nurse over multiple schools. The school doesn’t get any extra funding because of a 504 but they can lose the funding they are already getting if a 504 is violated. And IEP is what gets extra funding just an FYI.
Sample 504 and IEP Plans from Children with Diabetes offers detailed plans for children ages 6 through college including an SAT letter. Also includes letters for Substitute Teacher’s, Letter to School Classmates, and Daily Schedule Template.
Keeping Kids with Diabetes Safe at School by Crystal Jackson (Power Point file) From the Friends for Life 2014 conference
School Advisory Toolkit for Families from JDRF
American Diabetes Association Sample 504 Plan
504 Plans: A Guide for Parents from Diabetes Forecast
Your child’s school should have a 504 Coordinator. That’s who you need to speak to. Tell her you have a 504 and are requesting a meeting to have it put in place. They may tell you they have to fill out some paper work to see if she qualifies, but she will. T1D is an automatic qualification for a 504.
504 Plan Advice from other Type 1 Parents:
Insist that you sit down with principal, social worker with the school the nurse and her teacher. The school trains three people to care for my grand-daughter if shes not available. All type1 get a buddy to walk with them to nurse if not feeling well more bathroom breaks. No test can be taken if they are hi or low. They have to provide someone to help her while in nurses office for instruction time lost she gets no recesses taken away from her or special activities to make up work. I. Am my grand-daughters advocate and I will stop at nothing to get her a good education and good healthcare while at school. Oh the director of nursing for the district was at the last 504 meeting. We are on 3 nurses in 3 years. Nurse said every teacher in the school will be given info on symptoms of Type 1 this year.
Until I was confident that the staff were trained to know what to look for and how to take action I would not leave my son there. I’m both T1D Mom and a school teacher. Teachers usually start a few days before the kids or it also could have been done at the end of last school year. Hope the meeting goes well.
My son is the only one at his school too. He actually was DX a week before winter break..so we had no time to prepare. We saw the nurse after we got out of the hospital and she had 2 weeks during break to get a plan in place. They had paperwork in place and two trained staff. Since my son was DX they trained his teacher and another teacher had a t1 grandson..so she was added to our care plan. I would just make sure you are available the first few weeks to take any calls or texts or to go in and help. There will probably be lots of learning curves for everyone. We are lucky this year…his teacher for first grade is t1 herself. Also make sure to have your endo send some guidelines to the school.
Our school did the 504 and sent it to me. I sent it back with changes, and then back it came to me for signature. We never had a meeting. I scheduled a meeting on my own with the nurse and her teacher when she was dxd in 5th grade. You can hand some info to the bus driver at the bus stop and ask him/her to read it and let you know if you have questions.
We do smarties, juice in the nurses fridge, and pb crackers. Every classroom my child goes to has a low blood sugar kit with candy and pb crackers in case the bag she carries is out for some random reason. She is 12 and carries all of her supplies. But I took care of a kiddo at my school – Kinder – who also carried all of her supplies – teachers helped her to get it from class to class and it had a location in each class. This was important because you just don’t know when you will need something and having it in the nurses office will do no good in an emergency. 504 recommendations – bathroom and water breaks whenever – no questions asked. ALL SUB PLANS must include info about your child’s medical condition and how to help them – including the bathroom/drink breaks, testing BG before any standardized testing, Being informed as soon as possible when teacher knows treats will be given in class so your child does not miss out, trained person on all school sponsored field trips.
Our T1D journey began on a cold December day with Eldest being diagnosed 12/13/14 and being in DKA! We have had many ups and downs through our journey with a T1D entering puberty and hormones and insulin colliding. Join us as we share tips to cope with T1D through our monthly newsletter.
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How a Juice Box Saved my Son’s Life
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Heather Burnett says
Sound advice for parents. I’m a mom of a special needs child (autism). He has an IEP. Seems like I can never do enough research. Looks like you have summed up the 504 quite well! I’m sure you will help a lot of people with this!